It’s been almost four years ago since I started to look at the SaaS security model for Trend Micro. To be honest, being a software company, it was very hard getting anybody’s attention. However, the team persisted and sometimes learnt the hard way around what it takes to deliver high availability SaaS applications. Software as a Service (SaaS) is now a well established, cost effective way to deliver traditional software applications without the investment in infrastructure and qualified personnel. The most adopted applications for SaaS are around productivity such as CRM and ERP. However, there is another SaaS market growing rapidly and with global revenues in excess of $500m.
Security SaaS applications, sometimes referred to as Security as a Service, offer the same benefits any other SaaS application. In fact some Security SaaS applications have additional benefits. Hosted Email Security offers a very cost effective way to protect your email systems AND takes the burden of tuning for the best Spam detection from the team. Such services are ideally suited for all types of customers. For example Trend’s IMHS Hosted Email services hosts customers as small as 5 seats and as large as 50,000 seats. Value add email security SaaS applications, such as encryption, can be added with rapid deployment times.
Another successful Security as a Service application is vulnerability scanning and assessment. This is also referred to as the hybrid model since the majority of the functionality is carried out in the cloud with some elements placed within the customer network.
However, not all security applications are suitable. It’s debatable if you want all your Internet traffic flowing through SaaS security gateways. Firewall and web proxy traffic may be enabled best on premise because of the traffic volume. Endpoint Security applications that require constant interaction with internal network elements or for larger customers with very distributed networks may be too complex for cookie cutter security SaaS providers. In these cases Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP’s) are sometimes used to compliment internal resources.
Companies today should probably choose a combination of pure SaaS security, hybrid SaaS security, managed security services and on-premise (or Private Cloud) solutions. It will depend on the applications and the network size/architecture as to which is used.